||American Cancer Society (Salisbury) Sprint
||Sunday, May 2, 2004
||Triathlon - Sprint
||Male 25 - 29
||7 / 335
|Age Group Place:
||2 / 30
||2004 kick-off...So far, so good...
I've been eagerly anticipating this day; to finally be writing my
2004 season kick-off RR. The kick-off race was the Salisbury Sprint triathlon in Salisbury, MD. This was my third year in a row doing Salisbury, and is a great race to get things going for the year. I was excited to put on the race number, go through transitions, and experience a little nervous anxiety for the final ten second count-down to the starting gun.
I've been working hard on my swim over the winter and spring. In
prior years, if I had a choice between going for a run and going to the pool, 95% of the time, I'd choose the run. This year, I told myself that, given the same choice, I'd always choose the pool. I got some great workout tips from Guzek (Les Grande Cheval), and really focused on consistency; that is, making sure I got in the water every week to log these workouts. I finally started taking numbers each and every workout, thus, providing a benchmark to work from. This proved to be a great way to get immediate feedback during swim workouts. The swim had improved over these months, and I'd finally have the chance to see if the improvements would carry over into the racing.
My bike training probably suffered a bit in the earlier months, but a few huge weekends helped to ramp up some big miles and build a solid base. But building a solid base isn't necessarily the key to posting a fast bike split at a sprint distance triathlon. This would be and all-out effort for 14.5 miles...no "settle-in" time, or "get your legs back" time. Other than a few pick-ups here and there during long(er) rides, I didn't really have any time-trial type workouts logged, and I wasn't sure how I'd respond to an all-out effort over the 14.5 mile distance.
Run training has been similar to the swim training...very consistent. I logged quite a few very aerobic runs throughout the winter. I'd occasionally do the Reston Runner's Sunday run, but still, nothing "hard" -- this was a new approach for me. In the past, I'd normally approach a run workout with the idea of beating my previous time for the same workout -- everything was done at a hard effort. My first test of "speed" was the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in April, and it looked like the consistent running with some longer, easier, faster-to-recover type training had proven its worth. With no trips to the track for grueling 800 repeats, it seemed as though I had every bit of speed built in the previous year, plus a little more.
You'd think Salisbury would be a "low-key" race. There's normally
around ~350 competitors for this early season sprint, and there
always seems to be a strong contingent of fast folks who show. This year it was Otho Keller and James Bales who I recognized from posting blistering results in other races. Then, of course, there's Guzek, or "Les Grande Cheval"...my #1 competition
("friendly" competition, that is :) ). He got me pretty good here
last year by 1-minute and 30 seconds, so I knew I had some work to do to be the first one in line for pizza.
With a bit more confidence, I seeded myself further up and close to the inside buoy. The swim course is a clock-wise, elongated
rectangle with buoys on your right. I knew I was starting in new
territory when I could talk to Guzek without using a megaphone.
Knowing that Otho would likely be first out of the water, Les Grande Cheval was clearly trying to schmooze with him in hopes of latching on to his feet. The gun sounded and I started the watch. Last year, they lumped the T1 times into the swim split, so I was adamant on taking my own splits during the race to get a better idea of each segment's time. Within the first 100 yards, I received my first solid kick to the face in over 25 triathlon swims. It wasn't anything that knocked me off-guard or caused any bruising, but still, I could've done without it. The swim was only .5 miles, so I was confident I could hold a solid pace and not tire throughout the entire swim. I seemed to have a lot of free water. The wave was not very big, so after the fast guys jumped out, there was not too much to worry about in terms of bumping into other swimmers. My stroke felt steady and navigation was going well. Half-way through the back half of the "loop", I could see the leaders making the turn into shore. I hadn't been passed by anyone from behind, and finished the
swim, by my watch, with split of 12:13 -- a sign of improvement. I'm glad I took my own splits, because once again, LM Sports did not take T1 and T2 splits. T1 split was lumped into the swim, and T2 with the bike. Why they post you per 100/yard pace when doing this baffles me. It's clearly not a representation of your swim time when they count the time it takes to run the 75-yard to transition, take off the wetsuit, and prepare for the bike.
I ran into two minor glitches in T1. I've had some issues with
removing my Desoto T1 wetsuit. It seems to get stuck in the middle of my back when I have a wet racing jersey on underneath. I tried to relax, but I had to overt to plan B technique to get it off (pull harder!). Then, I had some trouble getting my helmet buckled. That's what this early season race is for, though -- a chance to go through the motions and try and sharpen things up. I estimate my T1 time to be around 2:04, but once again, that's by my watch and not official.
The bike course is a flat out-and-back. There are a few sections of undulating bumps that can make for a fairly uncomfortable ride, but nothing too bad -- there is also some really nice, smooth road immediately following. The out-and-back is great to check your position in the race (or more so, your wave). I was in wave 1, so there was no one else out in front of us on the course. I wasn't exactly sure what position I was in. I felt pretty good starting off and was able to set a solid, steady pace. There was a cross-wind, so there didn't seem to be much difference in speed on the out vs. the back. I was passed once on the bike by the guy who posted the 2nd fastest split of the day, and started in the wave behind me :\ -- but no real harm there. Shortly before the turn, I spotted Les Grande Cheval heading back and holding 5th place. I learned later that just
prior to that, he was riding in 3rd/4th until he experienced a
mechanical that set him back about 1-minute. I caught one other rider on the return, but was re-passed by him with about 3-miles to go, and wound up entering transition right behind him. Bike split 37:09 (including T2 time of approximately :26 seconds) and 6th overall.
Not much to it. I racked the bike, put on the runners, and crushed a gel -- :26 seconds by my watch.
It's a flat, 3.5 mile run. Last year, I wanted this to be the race to finally clock mile splits that read 5:5x...just something sub 6 min/mile -- it was 6:01. I had beaten the cyclist who entered transition ahead of me out for the run. There are a few short sections and some turns in the beginning, so I had no one in site for the first 3/4 of a mile. After turning out of a neighborhood street, onto the out-and-back section of the course, I had two runners in site; the guy who motored by me in the early stages of the bike, and Les Grande Cheval. My first mile split was 5:47, and I felt pretty good (well, actually, it hurt like hell but felt like something I
could maintain for another 2.5 miles). I gradually reeled in Guzek and was able muster up a "Yo Horse" during one of my labored exhales, and then a quick fist bump. He looked good and didn't look like he'd be giving away any more positions on the day. After the run turn, I reeled in the other guy with about 1.5 miles remaining. I was a bit concerned that he'd push and try and stay with me -- you can never tell how fast someone else is actually running when you pass them. I just kept running hard, and really never looked back. I listened though...hoping that the sound of his breathing would fade away as I pulled away. It did. I was now running in 5th place in my wave, and would not see anyone else, other than those on the outbound
leg, for the remainder of the run. I finished the run in 20:16, 5th fastest of the day, and finally posting a sub 6 average pace.
The normal festivities ensued –- post race food and chat. We were
back in transition to load up the bike and "ring" out the
wetsuit just a short time after we were slapping on Body Glide and resetting the bike computers. I beat my 2003 time by over 4-minutes, and moved up 8 overall spots -- I hope that's a sign of good things to come.
CongRATs to Bill Goodrum for putting together a solid race in the 45-49 division. I think his self-stamped label of "OFB" is a
hoax. Guz finished in 3rd AG, and 10th overall with another solid
effort. My other nonRAT buddy, Howard, took 4th in the tough
Thanks for reading.